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Serenity now.

July 27, 2010

My parents are awesome. Couldn’t have asked for better. My Mum is nurturing, non-judgmental, cool, smart and lovely. My Dad is sensitive, intelligent, a BIIIG thinker, and beautiful, although 10 years older than Mum, and cut from a different cloth…they did things a little different in his day.

Corporal Punishment wasn’t really his bag, but oh my, there was some pain inflicted with the consequence of writing lines. One of his favourites to have me copy out (ten times, twenty times…more if I was a REAL brat, which I was on many an occasion) was DESIDERATA. Sometimes it was only the first few lines. Sometimes the WHOOOOLE shebang. Aw man. Dad, do I have to??! I hate this house. It’s so unfair…blah blah blah. For the record, when our daughter is a teenager, I think I’m going to run away to a desert island. Sorry honey.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the poem by Max Ehrmann, here it is

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

Did those motivational consequences work? No doubt. And the fact that to this day I can still recite most of this poem shows it stuck. I think there’s something we can all learn from it, no matter what our beliefs.

Man.  It still brings a tear to my eye. I had forgotten about it until, when during a very brief, flat, and disenchanted moment this morning, a friend sent me a text quoting the “Serenity” prayer. Another of Dad’s old faithfuls (“joelene, you have no business being angry at the world; you can’t change it. Now, go and copy this prayer out ten times…). Now, I’m not at all a religious person, but I am definitely spiritual. The words in the first few lines definitely strike a chord. I am going to try and remember this again during times when I want to stamp my feet or have a cry.

If that doesn’t work I’ll sing my happy song, or go to my happy place.

The last two of my posts have been awfully airy-fairy, but I guess that’s where I am in my life right now.

A place of peace.

The universe is taking care of shit, and I’m just enjoying the ride 🙂

(….aaaaaaand a shout out to all of my friends and CrossFit family. You guys are the best. )

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